The metro car was already standing room only at Huntington, the end of the line. At each stop into the city, more and more people crowded on. Many had signs, many had pink pussycat hats, and all were in high spirits. I had never experienced anything like it. Despite being squished together and delayed at every stop, everyone was so nice. In fact, with each announcement of a delay, the crowd in my car let out a cheer, thrilled that so many people had shown up for the march that metro transit was hindered. Strangers chatted with one another about the causes that brought them here but also about personal topics like family and where they were from. As we passed Braddock station where people stood on the platform unable to board due to lack of room, we spotted a young man with an older woman. He held up his sign, “I <3 my Mom” with an arrow pointing to her.
Our train had to bypass L’Enfant; the crowds were too big there. We exited at Archives. Even there, exiting was slowed considerably by the crowd. As people waited patiently to proceed to the exit turnstiles, groups chanted in call and response, “Show me what democracy looks like.” “This is what democracy looks like.” People complimented each other on the creativity or humor of their signs.
Once out of the station and in daylight, I headed for the rallying point amid a sea of people. Vendors hawked T-shirts, and volunteers from different organizations handed out stickers. I stopped to take a few pictures of the crowd and of signs. I couldn’t even get close to the rallying point, the crowd was so big. I was shoulder-to-shoulder, back-to-front with those around me. It was an introvert’s nightmare. But it was a dissident’s dream.
Conservatives I know decried the march, either because many of the marchers support abortion or because the critics are under the delusion that women already enjoy equal treatment, and feminists are, to quote a troll, “displeased by pretty much everything in the universe.” They might wonder why I, a devout Christian, marched.
I marched because I serve the Creator. Climate change is real and needs to be addressed. Appointing a climate change denier to head the EPA is an affront to science and to God, who mandates we care for His creation.
I marched because I serve a God who created women in His image. Yet women are still objectified; rape culture still exists; and now, the leader of the free world is a man who brags about sexual assault. The multiple women who have come forward to accuse him of assault have been harassed and threatened into silence, the same way so many victims are silenced. The normalization of sexual assault needs to stop now.
I marched because I serve a great Rabbi. Public schools need to be supported, and all children deserve to be given equal access to quality education. Appointing as Secretary of Education someone who has no experience working in the field of education, who doesn’t believe students with disabilities should have their federally mandated rights upheld, who thinks guns belong in schools, and who has worked toward the destruction of public schools by promoting voucher systems is a direct threat not only to me as a public school educator, but to the children, and therefore future, of our country.
I marched because I serve a Master whose yoke is easy, whose burden is light. Labor rights are essential to the health and well-being of the country, both economically and spiritually. The decline of the middle class is a result of the decline of union membership and influence. Appointing as Secretary of Labor a CEO who opposes overtime pay and increasing the minimum wage is an attack on working people.
I marched because I serve the Prince of Peace, yet the president has gone on record as wanting to “bomb the shit” out of our enemies. He is thin-skinned and rash and now is in charge of nuclear weapons.
I marched because I serve a Lord who was himself a refugee/immigrant in the land of Egypt. Immigrants make our nation great. I am the descendent of immigrants and so are you. Albert Einstein, I.M. Pei, Madeline Albright, Joseph Pulitzer, Irving Berlin, Andrew Carnegie, Nikola Tesla, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and myriad others are immigrants who enriched our country. Xenophobia is not an attractive trait in democracy or among Christians, for that matter, who should be blind to nationality and rather see people as Jesus does.
I marched because I serve the Great Physician. Health care is a human right. Jesus spent his ministry not only addressing people’s spiritual problems, but also healing their physical ones. Matthew 25 is pretty clear about how we should treat the poor and the sick. Repealing the ACA will result in death for some people because they will be unable to get proper health care. I am not willing to be culpable in that.
I marched because I serve the Lord of Life and am pro-life. Defunding Planned Parenthood, eliminating the Affordable Care Act, and attacking education will lead to an increase in abortion rates.
I marched because I serve the Light of the World. All nations, all peoples are loved by God, created in His image, and redeemable through Christ. But the rhetoric and attitudes surrounding Trump’s campaign emboldened racists and contributed to an increase in racially motivated attacks. The appointment of a white supremacist as a White House advisor is indefensibly vile. Because of the current socio-political climate, my friends who are black, Latino, LGBTQ, or Muslim fear for their own personal safety and the safety of their families. No one should fear for their safety in what is supposedly the greatest country on earth.
I marched because of the great cloud of witnesses who came before us, setting an example of righteous resistance: Esther; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; John the Baptist; William Wilberforce; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak. Now is not the time to keep silent.